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Court Slams Gavel On Napster, Orders Effective Dissolution Of The Company

Court Slams Gavel On Napster, Orders Effective Dissolution Of The Company

by , 4:40 PM EDT, July 27th, 2000

In a stunning move late yesterday, Chief US District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel granted a temporary restraining order against Napster on behalf of the RIAA. The RIAA is suing Napster seeking to get the MP3 trading software company to stop allowing people to trade copyrighted material. The temporary restraining order compels Napster to stop allowing copyrighted materials from being traded through its servers at midnight on Friday. While other material could be traded through Napster, the company says that there is currently no way to differentiate. As such, the restraining order would effectively shut the company down.

The 5 major record labels in the RIAA have been ordered to place a US$5 million bond against any losses potentially suffered by Napster. This money would only be accessible by Napster should they eventually win the case.

The company will appeal the ruling in an attempt to stay in business. In a TV interview today, David Boise, Napster's attorney, suggested that 54 hours was not enough time to do what the RIAA itself had failed to do, which was find a way to protect copyrighted materials. According to a C-Net report, Judge Patel was not interested in these arguments, saying "Napster wrote the software; it's up to them to write software that will remove from users the ability to copy copyrighted material. They created a monster...That's the consequence they face."

You can find more than 20 links to coverage of this issue at our own MacOS News Around The Web.

The Mac Observer Spin:

Napster plays both sides of the fence constantly. They scream about people having rights to trade music, but they scream even louder when other companies try to use their own trademarked, copyrighted, and other precious technologies. It is this hypocrisy that they have exercised again and again which makes them utterly unsympathetic to us. Their whining adherents who prattle on about their own rights to steal music also leave us less than maudlin.

On the flip side, the RIAA is comprised of a bunch of fat cats living off the efforts of their artists. We are damned no matter who wins if we only consider the opposing forces. That said, the RIAA's middle finger that has been so forcefully jammed into this dike's hole will not stem the business of trading MP3s. In fact, it may well be that by their very nature of having been first to market with this technology, Napster was doomed from the get-go. Gnutella and a host of other competing technologies will merrily fill the void left by Napster's demise should they prove unable to reverse the court's decision.

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